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19

Red-capped Robin

(Petroica goodenovii)
Alternate name(s): "Redhead", "Robin Red-breast*"
Aboriginal name(s): "bullawang", "choondah", "tarongo"; "awi irta" [yura ngawarla]; "wi-oombeen", "guniibuu" [yuwaalaraay]; "menekedang" (WA)

Size: 11-12 cm; wing span 15-19.5 cm
Weight: 7-9 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Red-capped Robin at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of an adult male Red-capped Robin
[Near Narrabri, NSW, September 2007]

Near-frontal view of a male Red-capped Robin that has been digging in mud
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, July 2011]

Near-lateral view of a male Red-capped Robin
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, June 2006]

Lateral view a male Red-capped Robin (photo courtesy of R. Brinsley)
[85 km west of Wentworth, NSW, October 2007]

Lateral view of the same male Red-capped Robin as above
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, July 2011]

Lateral view of a male Red-capped Robin on the ground
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2006]

Dorsal view of a male Red-capped Robin

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Red-capped Robin (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wave Rock, near Hyden, WA, March 2017]

Frontal view of a female Red-capped Robin
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2016]

Close-up frontal shot of a female Red-capped Robin on the ground
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, June 2006]

Near-frontal view of a female Red-capped Robin
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, June 2006]

Near-lateral view of a female Red-capped Robin
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, March 2008]

Near-lateral view of a female Red-capped Robin
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, March 2008]

Lateral view of a female Red-capped Robin
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2016]

Lateral view of a female Red-capped Robin
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, March 2008]

Lateral view of a female Red-capped Robin on the ground
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, June 2006]

This female Red-capped Robin sat conveniently at eye height
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2011]

Lateral view of a female Red-capped Robin; different stance
[Near Bugilbone, NSW, June 2016]

Different perspective of a female Red-capped Robin
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, May 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a female Red-capped Robin (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Wave Rock, near Hyden, WA, March 2017]

Dorsal view of a female Red-capped Robin
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, June 2006]

Sex unknown

Note that in the field immature male and some female Red-capped Robins are very hard to distinguish. Some of the birds shown on this page may either be "variety B" females, with a red wash on their breast, or first-year males that do not have full adult plumage yet.

Close-up frontal portrait of a Red-capped Robin; this bird may be a "variety B" female or a young male moulting into adult plumage
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2013]

Frontal view of a Red-capped Robin; this bird may be a "variety B" female or a young male moulting into adult plumage
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Near-frontal view of a Red-capped Robin; this bird may be a "variety B" female or a young male moulting into adult plumage
[Maules Creek, NSW, 2012]

Lateral view of a Red-capped Robin; this bird may be a "variety B" female or a young male moulting into adult plumage
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2014]

Lateral view of a Red-capped Robin hunting from a fencepost; this bird may be a "variety B" female or a young male moulting into adult plumage

Lateral view of a Red-capped Robin; this bird may be a "variety B" female or a young male moulting into adult plumage
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2013]

Dorsal view of a Red-capped Robin; this bird may be a "variety B" female or a young male moulting into adult plumage
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of an immature male Red-capped Robin developing its red patches, but not yet the black feathers to cover the rest of the head and its back; this bird probably has too much red on it to be a "variety B" female
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, March 2008]

Frontal view of an immature Red-capped Robin (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Terry Hie Hie, NSW, October 2013]

Lateral view of an immature Red-capped Robin
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, March 2008]

Near-lateral view of a very young immature Red-capped Robin; this bird was feeding itself, having been left by its parents just the day before the photo was taken
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2013]

Lateral view of a very young immature Red-capped Robin; this bird was feeding itself, having been left by its parents just the day before the photo was taken
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2013]

Different lateral view of a very young immature Red-capped Robin; this bird was feeding itself, but still has the partly yellow bill typical of chicks
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

Frontal view of a juvenile Red-capped Robin
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, March 2008]

This juvenile Red-capped Robin, which still has a yellowish gape, is growing its first red feather
[Near Kenebri, NSW, January 2016]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Red-capped Robin, seen with ruffled plumage after preening
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

The same juvenile Red-capped Robin as shown above, here seen preening
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Jul - Dec Eggs: 2 - 4 Incubation period: 14 - 15 days Fledging age: 13 - 15 days

Nest building: Female Incubation: Female Dependent care: Female & male

The male tends to "propose" a number of nest sites, but the female makes the final selection. The preferred tree species for nesting is the Cypress pine.

While incubating, the female relies on the male to provide her with food, which is delivered near the nest (not while she is sitting on the nest).

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Bowl Material: Bark fibres, grass stems, webs Height above ground: 0.5 - 10 m

Female Red-capped Robin gluing the base of its nest on to a minor fork on a branch of a Cypress pine tree with spider webs
[Bullawa Creek SCA, near Narrabri, NSW, November 2014]

Female Red-capped Robin sitting on the base of its nest
[Bullawa Creek SCA, near Narrabri, NSW, November 2014]

Female Red-capped Robin standing on the base of its nest
[Bullawa Creek SCA, 15 km East of Narrabri, NSW, November 2014]

A week later, the Red-capped Robin nest was probably complete, but still inconspicuous
[Bullawa Creek SCA, near Narrabri, NSW, November 2014]

Close-up view of the female Red-capped Robin that we observed building the nest shown above (although, with its yellow gape, it looks like an immature bird)
[Bullawa Creek SCA, near Narrabri, NSW, November 2014]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 16 x 13 mm Colour: Off-white, with many small dark-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Pair

We do not know why, but some robins are in the habit of spreading their wings while sitting on the ground, for no apparent reason. They do not stay like this long enough to be cooling. We have also not noticed other birds around to which they might be displaying (see photo below).

Dorsal view of an immature Red-capped Robin on the ground, spreading its wings in a way observed by us only in robins
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2013]

Food, Diet

Adults: Small insects Dependents: As adults Water intake: Daily

Like all other robins (all families), Red-capped Robins are flycatchers. Most robins hunt for insects from low to mid-level perches.

Male Red-capped Robin with its prey, a juicy caterpillar (photo courtesy of B. Kinross)
[Buntine Rocks, 230 km North of Perth, WA, September 2013]

Female Red-capped Robin with its prey, a grasshopper
[Near Bugilbone, NSW, June 2016]

Female Red-capped Robin that has caught an insect (which looks like a grasshopper)

Immature male Red-capped Robin with a juicy caterpillar
[Maules Creek, NSW, September 2011]

It is astonishing to see that a bush cockroach will fit into the bill of this very young immature Red-capped Robin
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

This Red-capped Robin has caught what looks like a beetle
[Gundabooka NP, NSW, September 2012]

Red-capped Robin usually hunt from low perches, but they can be found on the ground too - here an immature male
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2013]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

redcrob_20150422.mp3 (NW NSW) Various (male) © MD
redcrob_20141231.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact calls (female) © MD
redcrob_20140328.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact call (immature male) © MD
redcrob_20140312.mp3 (NW NSW) Contact call (immature male) © MD
redcrob_20140306_3.mp3 (NW NSW) ? © MD
redcrob_20140325.mp3 (NW NSW) ? © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.